Thumbnail image of author: Sophie Ross

As part of Volunteers’ Week, Healthcare Improvement Scotland is sharing the stories of NHS staff who give up their own time to help others. Healthcare Improvement Scotland manages the Volunteering in NHSScotland Programme, and one of the aims of the work is to have a positive impact on the NHS and on the volunteers themselves. Sophie Ross, a call handler with NHS24, discovered that volunteering helped her go from being out of work to finding her current position, perfectly demonstrating how giving up her own time changed her life – and others – for the better.

I grew up with my mum, my role model, who was always offering to help others in some way whether it be charity work or volunteering and I would always be there behind her closely following.

I sadly lost my mum in 2013 and afterwards went through one of the darkest times in my life, involving depression and unemployment.

Pull quote graphic: "Volunteering was a great way to build my CV up and it also shows employers you are committed to using your spare time to help others."

I knew I needed a way out of this vicious cycle so I turned to volunteering again, hoping it would get my life back on track – and it certainly did!

Volunteering was a great way to build my CV up and it also shows employers you are committed to using your spare time to help others.

After gaining employment through The Princes Trust at NHS24 I decided to become a Princes Trust Young Ambassador to encourage other young people to take steps toward using the support that is out there for those who are struggling.

My passion for volunteering is a big part of my life and I’m always trying to find other opportunities to help.

I recently became a Give & Go Volunteer for NHSGGC providing a link to patients throughout the pandemic by bringing gifts in from loved ones.

Just being able to provide that small amount of joy meant everything.

Volunteering – for yourself and others

Pull quote graphic: "My passion for volunteering is a big part of my life and I’m always trying to find other opportunities to help."

Not all of volunteering is glamorous but to me it is such a good thing to do for yourself and others.

I would encourage anyone to consider volunteering – no matter how big or small the role, or how little time you can commit, you are providing something to someone somewhere to make things better in your own way.  Find out more about Volunteers’ Week 2022. This is the 38th Volunteers’ Week, with the focus this year on saying thank you to those who give up their time to help others.  Find out more on social media, using the hashtag #VolunteersWeekScot

Sophie Ross is a call handler with NHS24.

More information

You can read more about volunteering in NHSScotland through the case studies at Healthcare Improvement Scotland – Community Engagement.